Isaac Acuna scored for the Cosmos. (Photo courtesy of the Cosmos)

LEESBURG, Va. – Like it or not, the Cosmos have a reputation to live down.

They can’t hold leads deep into the second half of games.

For the second time in eight days, the Cosmos gave up the equalizing goal late as they settled for a 1-1 draw with ten-man Maryland Bobcats FC in a Mid-Atlantic Region match of the NISA Independent Cup at the Evergreen Sports Complex on Sunday night.

What made it more even more excruciating was that the Cosmos enjoyed a man advantage for the final 81 minutes due to a red card and could not score more than one goal against an amateur side.

The tie left the Cosmos with a 0-0-2 record and two points and tied for second place with Maryland (0-0-2, 2) after they drew 1-1 with New Amsterdam FC (0-1-1, 1) their opener in Warwick, N.Y. last week.

In that game, the Cosmos allowed New Amsterdam, a new professional club that will compete in the National Independent Soccer Association fall season, to score the tying goal in stoppage time.

Fortunately for the Cosmos, the game did not count in the NISA standings. The fall season begins for them next Saturday.

The Cosmos played the final 81 minutes with a man advantage after goalkeeper Christian Caulker was red carded for fouling Shavon John-Brown just outside the penalty area in the ninth minute.

Bobcats FC, which had been forced to replace an injured Levi Houapau with Sammy Kahsai in the sixth minute, needed to make yet another substitution only three minutes later after the ejection. Joel Isyaq came on to play in goal as forward Eduardo Jimenez was pulled.

Forward Isaac Acuna lifted the Cosmos into a 1-0 lead in the 19th minute as he ran onto a lead pass on the left flank, beat his marker and scored from a difficult angle on the left side the penalty area past Isyaq.


New York took advantage of the extra man by dominating the rest of the first half, allowing Maryland to possess the ball out of its territory on rare occasions.

The Cosmos, however, never took advantage of the extra man in the second half and they paid dearly for it.

On the other hand, Maryland found itself and then some momentum in the final half and it knotted things up on Richard Forka’s goal at the back post past goalkeeper Kevin Tenjo off a corner kick. Tenjo came on for tarter Jesse Corke in the 63rd minute.

The Cosmos had an opportunity to take the lead late in the 89th minute, but Isyaq knocked away a close-range header.

In the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader, first-place FC Baltimore Christos (1-0-1, 4) defeated New Amsterdam FC, 3-0.

The Cosmos will open their fall season, hosting Michigan Stars FC at Mitchel Athletic Complex in Uniondale, N.Y. Aug. 15 at 7 p.m. Michigan kicked off its campaign with a 2-1 home victory over Chattanooga FC Saturday night.

The contest will be played behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.